Last night was cold. Really cold. Before I went out, I wondered if I could wear sandals, but I settled for wellies. And good thing I did, because before I came back home, my toes were deep frozen.
So. What happens around here when there’s a sudden shift towards colder temperatures? I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen. This:
And yet there’s the proof, right there. So what’s going on here?
Well, for about a week now, online forums have gone crazy over the aurora borealis, which are apparently very active right now. So yesterday evening while I was looking for a dark spot to photograph the starry vault, I guess I had the northern lights at the back of my mind.
So when I was giving up on the lake because there were too many streetlamps, I glanced towards the north and thought, “That sure is a very visible cloud. Hm. I wonder if it could possibly be…” And I turned my camera towards the pale grey formation in the sky and clicked the shutter.
This is what the camera saw. Not me. Beautiful, yes, but a total lie. When I came home, I even tried to desaturate the colours and change a load of settings to show what it really looks like, but I couldn’t. The camera sees something I can’t see, and I can’t make it show my point of view. The closest I can come is this:
And yet it’s too green, but if I adjust it more, the rest of the picture becomes too red.
So why am I telling you this? Why am I not just hopping on the bandwagon and spreading a false but beautiful image of what my country is like? Because it gives rise to false expectations and false jealousy. It’s like the mask of happiness and success so many people are struggling so hard to keep in place: it’s not real. The makeup that covers up the dark circles – it looks fantastic, but it’s an illusion.
I won’t pretend that I’ve ever seen a clear, neon green sheet dancing above the treetops, because it just isn’t true. The truth is that you can see faint, pale wisps of light sweeping across the night sky like ghosts, and if you’ve never been unduly primed by the barrage of crazy-green pictures on social media, that’s quite breath-taking enough.
Then again, what if this is what foxes see? Or birds? Or beings we don’t even know about? If the camera lens can see it, maybe other creatures can too? Maybe this is simply a lesson: if someone else says they can see something I can’t see, the fault just might lie with me. Perhaps humans are the only ones on Earth who can’t see what’s really there.
Food for thought as we continue to wipe out our fellow inhabitants.